USWNT captain after abuse scandal: Those who hid it should be gone

Becky Sauerbrunn, captain of the USWNT, has called for the resignation of all those club owners and executives in the NWSL who covered up the scandal of “systematic abuse” of players that has come to light this week following the release of a court report commissioned by the US Soccer Federation (USSF).

In her video statement, Sauerbrunn acknowledged that the players are not at all happy with how the whole thing has been handled.

Serious words

“We are horrified, and heartbroken, and frustrated, and exhausted, and really really angry,” said Sauerbrunn.

“We are angry that it took a third-party investigation. We are angry that it took an article in The Athletic and The Washington Post and numerous others.

“We’re angry that it took over 200 people sharing their trauma to get to this point right now.

“And we’re angry that it took Mana [Shim] and Sinead [Farrelly] and Erin [Simon] and Kaiya [McCullough] and Alex [Morgan] and Christen [Press] and Sam [Johnson] to repeatedly ask people in authority to take their abuse and their concerns seriously.”

Abuse and sexual misconduct

The independent investigation (by the law firm King & Spalding) paints a picture in which verbal and emotional abuse of female soccer players and inappropriate sexual behaviors exceed the boundaries of “hardcore” coaching and are commonplace from junior to senior levels.

Nearly 200 interviews with retired and active players, coaches, club owners and staff revealed manipulative tactics that were more about abuse of power than improving the game. And a disturbing pattern of sexual comments, unwanted touching and coercive sex.

Calls for mass resignations

In the face of such revelations, the veteran Portland Thorns FC player has stepped forward on behalf of all female soccer players across the country calling for the resignations of all leaders and executives who hid the abuses for years.

“And I think for so long, this has always fallen on the players to demand change and that is because the people in authority and decision-making positions have repeatedly failed to protect us, and they have failed to hold themselves and each other accountable.

“What, and who, are you actually protecting? And what values are you upholding?

“You have failed in your stewardship. And it’s my opinion that every owner and executive and U.S. Soccer official who has repeatedly failed the players and failed to protect the players, who have hidden behind legalities, and have not participated fully in these investigations, should be gone.”

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